Paul Stuart, known for its special take on Anglo-American fashion, has been sold to its Japanese licensee.
The venerable New York City retailer, which has been a fixture on Madison Avenue for nearly 75 years, was acquired by Mitsui & Co. Ltd., for an undisclosed sum on Dec. 28. The news was kept under wraps until Tuesday when the Tokyo-based company revealed that Paul Stuart’s founding families agreed to sell their shares to Mitsui, which has become the retailer’s sole owner.
Michael Ostrove, president and chief executive officer and the third generation of the founding family to run the business, said: “I am delighted that we are able to cement and extend our relationship with respected partners of such long standing. Their commitment to Paul Stuart’s quality, integrity and continuity in every way mirrors our own. It is our great good fortune, as we begin our 75th anniversary year, to be presented this opportunity not only to polish, preserve and enhance our existing position, but to further build and expand our brand in such a positive manner.”
Ostrove was in Europe Tuesday and unavailable to comment further, but sources said he has signed a long-term contract to retain his position and will operate the U.S. portion of the business, which includes a Chicago store as well as the Madison Avenue flagship.
Paul Stuart, a 60,000-square-foot emporium on 45th Street and Madison, was founded in 1938 by Ralph Ostrove and his cousin Norman. Ralph Ostrove named the store after his son, Paul Stuart Ostrove. For nearly 60 years, the store was run by Clifford Grodd, who had married Ralph Ostrove’s daughter Barbara, along with Paul Ostrove. Paul Ostrove died in 2004 and Grodd in 2010. Since Grodd’s death, rumors have been circulating that the company would be sold.
Under Grodd’s tutelage, Paul Stuart became known for its soft-shoulder look in tailoring and is believed to have been the first American retailer to bring side vents to the States, as well as the three-button suit. All of the merchandise at Paul Stuart bears the retailer’s name. It designs much of its own product and alters what it buys in the market so it adheres to the Paul Stuart aesthetic.
Mitsui’s relationship with Paul Stuart dates to 1975 when it began to import the retailer’s private label merchandise into the Japanese market. In 1991, the relationship was expanded and Mitsui was granted an exclusive license to produce and sell Paul Stuart product in Japan. Since that time, Mitsui has sub-licensed the brand to Sanyo Shokai Ltd. and 13 other companies, which offer a wide range of product under the Paul Stuart name. There are two Paul Stuart flagships — in Aoyama and Ginza — in Tokyo as well as about 100 in-store shops in department stores and outlet centers throughout Japan along with e-commerce sites, all operated by Sanyo.
For the year ended March 31, annual retail sales of the brand in Japan reached 11.5 billion yen, or $133 million at current exchange.
Mitsui said the Paul Stuart trademark is registered in more than 30 countries in the Americas, Europe and Asia, all of which will now be controlled by Mitsui. This will allow the company to expand the brand globally. The goal, Mitsui said, is to grow the Japanese-licensed business to 20 billion yen, or $231 million, by 2015.
Mitsui said it “considers emerging countries as strategic markets in the fashion business domain. While the fashion market becomes more mature and sophisticated, as the income level rises in these markets, Mitsui believes that the demand for the Paul Stuart brand will grow and will contribute to expand brand recognition and business in these markets.”
“These collections continue to build on that vision, empowering differently abled adults to express themselves through fashion,” said @tommyhilfiger of his line of adaptive apparel, which launches today. The line consists of 37 men’s and 34 women’s styles based upon the pieces from the spring Tommy Hilfiger sportswear collection. #wwdnews
“Stranger Things” is getting a new cast member for season 2. Meet @sadiesink_, the 15-year-old who will be joining the Netflix series for its new season. You may recognize her from “The Glass Castle” with Brie Larson and Woody Harrelson, but the Texas native’s next role goes in an entirely different direction. She describes her character, Max, as “a rough and tumble skater girl [who] becomes friends with the boys at school.” The second season debuts on October 27. (📷: @jgreenery) #wwdeye
Amid the Harvey Weinstein controversy, there’s another sector that’s being put under the spotlight for sexual abuse: the modeling industry. While rumors about abuse and sexual harassment of female and male models — and the photographers, agents and others who perpetrated it — have circulated within the fashion world for years, model @cameronrussell started posting stories from models on Instagram last week about abusive situations they’ve encountered — from sexual harassment and molestation to attempted rape. Over 75 have weighed in so far. Read more on WWD.com. Link in bio. #wwdnews
To celebrate its 16th anniversary, @dylanscandybar tapped designers and celebrities to create mosaics out of candy. The mosaics will be auctioned off to support the philanthropic cause of each participant’s choice. Pictured here is the mural created by @aliceandolivia's Stacey Bendet. For a first look at some of the other artwork being unveiled tonight, go to WWD.com. #wwdeye
The annual Veuve Clicquot Polo Classic in Pacific Palisades this weekend drew Kate Hudson, Tracee Ellis Ross, Laura Dern and more. See pictures of the star-studded event on WWD.com. (📷: @chelsealaurenla) #wwdeye
In his new book “Hollywood Royale,” Andy Warhol’s Protégé Matthew Rolston celebrates the Eighties revival of Hollywood glamour. Featuring more than 100 portraits taken by Rolston from 1977 to 1993, the book contains photos of icons like Michael Jackson, Cyndi Lauper, and @drewbarrymore, pictured here in 1991. “Hollywood Royale,” out today, will be accompanied by an exhibition opening at Los Angeles’ Fahey/Klein Gallery on March 1. #wwdeye
"Nowadays when life is not so happy with everything going on in the world, I think people come to me for a little bit of whimsy and color and fun." - Designer Rebecca De Ravenel on her cult-favorite jewelry line. (📸 : @vsteves) #wwd40
“Everyone is talking about how the retail industry is struggling, but I think it’s an incredible time because brands who are doing something different and innovative are setting themselves up for the future,” said @adamgoldston, who founded the luxury athletic brand @apl with his brother @ryangoldsten. The Goldston’s are part of WWD’s 40 under 40: a group of industry notables. See the rest of the list on WWD.com. (📷: @vsteves) #wwd40
@eyeswoon blogger Athena Calderone debuted her first-ever cookbook, “Cook Beautiful,” which is heavily centered on the presentation and visual expression of food. Pictured here are her miso glazed carrots from the book. Get the recipe on WWD.com. (📷: @johnny_miller_) #wwdeye